Now that I’m fairly established in the blogging world, the question I get asked most would have to be “How do I start a self-hosted WordPress blog, Kelley?”. Starting a blog on a platform like Blogger or Tumblr is fast and simple, but for anyone interested in monetizing and actually blogging as a career (yes, it is possible), WordPress is where you need to be. For so many of the people I talk to this is the part where they get stuck. They’re creative and have no issues thinking of ideas for their posts, but the setup stalls them. I’m going to give you step by step instructions with screenshots to get you started!
1. Pick a domain name
This is where most blogs die before they ever see the light of day. I’ve known people who spend years trying to come up with the “perfect” name for their blog. That’s years wasted where they could have learned the ins and outs of blogging, honed their craft and increased their incomes. I’ll tell you a little secret. I don’t especially love my blog’s name! But it’s never really made any difference. If I had one piece of advice to give you, it would be: DON’T WAIT FOR THE PERFECT NAME. Pick an available domain at Bluehost.com and get started! If the perfect name comes to you later, you can always rebrand.
2. Get hosted
This is basically the server where your blog “lives”. One of the most popular hosting companies for bloggers is Bluehost. It is inexpensive to get started with them and they have great customer service.
3. Install WordPress
Go to WordPress.org and download the latest version. (It’s free) Do not use WordPress.com. It is NOT the same. I repeat, it is NOT the same! I use WordPress.org and it’s amazing for SEO (search engine optimization), which is the platform you NEED to use if you want people to be able to find your blog. Login to Bluehost and scroll down to the Software/Services section of the first page. Click on WordPress logo.
On the next page click the option to “Start a brand new install”.
And you’ll end up here.
Then you’ll see this:
Once you get the “Installation Complete” you’ll want to make note of the Login URL, Username, and Password to avoid lost password annoyance and frustration at yourself later. You can change these to something more personal and memorable later, but you’ll need them for your first time logging in.
Type your Login URL into your web browser. You’ll see a login screen like the one below. Enter your Username and Password you copied down from the previous step.
Yay! You’re almost done! Now for the fun part. Accessorizing!
4. Pick a theme
There are three frameworks used by successful bloggers. Headway, Thesis and Genesis. They will make all the difference in the world if you want to show up in search engines. My blogs run on Genesis, and I use the Prose child theme. I love it because I don’t have to mess with HTML and I can customize the way my blog looks without a designer.
5. Start Creating Awesome Content!
You did it! You set up your own little patch of real estate on the Internet, and now you get to start writing. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t instantly have thousands of people reading your blog. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. The majority of people who start blogs end up giving up after the first three months. I promise if you hang in there and keep creating interesting content, people will read. It took me a year to start generating an income with my blog. Let me know in comments if you’re interested in a post about how I did it! And remember, you have something special inside of you to share with the world. There’s someone out there that needs to hear something only you can write! So get it out there and good luck!